Woods Bagot will be the exclusive architectural industry partner of the 2019 Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF).

According to Woods Bagot principal Bruno Mendes, the architecture and film industries are not dissimilar.

“Films direct their audiences through space; as architects, our design process centres around people’s experience of space,” he says.

Design expertise is central to the MIFF, in terms of the relationship between film aesthetics and the venues chosen to bring these films to life, says MIFF chair Claire Dobbin AM.

This year’s program will include over 250 films in 64 languages, with MIFF transforming the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre into a contemporary state-of-the-art cinema, as well as “the triumphant return to the glorious Capitol Theatre where we can marvel at the vision of Walter Burley Griffin and Marion Mahony Griffin,” says Dobbin.

On opening night, the world premiere of The Australian Dream will screen at The Plenary at Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, designed by Woods Bagot and NH Architecture.

“One of the main purposes of this building was to evoke the artistic spirit of Melbourne,” says Mendes.

“It’s MIFF’s newest venue and they’ve scheduled an excellent weekend of screenings here, as well as live performance, surprise pop-ups and market stalls.”

Capitol Theatre will be the primary venue for this year’s festival. Following its five-year refurbishment by Six Degrees Architects, it has been transformed into a major cultural and educational hub.

Cinema and architecture have gone hand in hand since the Lumière brothers in 1895, with architecture in film engaging broad audiences and delighting viewers through worlds both familiar and new.

According to Mendes, his festival wish list includes the world premiere of Measure for Measure (Paul Ireland 2019), a contemporary multicultural re-interpretation of Shakespeare starring Hugo Weaving. Set in Prahran’s housing commission flats, it is a multi-layered film with stories of love, crime and corruption, with Melbourne’s cityscape looming in the background.

Pictured: Capitol Theatre, Melbourne. Image credit: RMIT